Sunday, April 21

I left camp about an hour after I woke up. The rain stopped just as I put my pack on. The fog cleared out and hiking was good. It was in the low 70s, the sky overcast. I hiked in lycra shorts and a t-shirt, my wet clothing hanging off of the back of my pack, drying in the heat. I hit the first shelter, Blue Mountain Shelter, after hiking about 8 miles. I signed in that I was going to keep hiking. My legs didn't seem to agree with me, but I kept going anyhow. Somehow my band-new water filter (the Pur Hiker) had clogged, so I was unable to purify any water. I called Pur a few times for help, but tey just don't seem to answer their phones. Waldo The Continuingly Less Prepared had neglected to learn how to clean his filter before he left. No biggie, though -- I've got iodine. If you don't mind the taste, it's not bad stuff. The problem with it, though, is that you can't drink the water immediately -- you have to let it sit first. It's alright -- I could use a little patience.

the plaque that's on Springer and in UnicoiThe day turned out to be beautiful. I hit Unicoi Gap in the early afternoon. If you look at Unicoi on a profile map you will notice that it is just a big, sharp 'V'. Right smack in the fold of that 'V' is GA75 and a parking lot, where lots of tourists stop to look at signs and such. Embedded in a rock there is one of three existing bronze plaques, like the one that I saw on the first day on Springer. I talked to a few people there, one of them a former thru-hiker. Just as I was about to leave and hike up the other arm of the 'V', I was stopped by a middle-aged woman and her mother. She told me that her son was thru-hiking, and if I were to see him to say "Hi". I haven't seen him yet, but when I do, I'll pass on that message!

I was treated to a beautiful view along the ridge of Tray Mountain in my last half hour of hiking. (I should add that the cellphone reception was great, too!) I arrived at the shelter to find Icculus and Monsoon, who I had last seen at Neel's Gap. We went to sleep when it got dark.


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